Thursday, November 28, 2013

Prayers for Lighting of Advent Candles


Jennifer Phillips

An Advent wreath is customarily a circle of greens, sometimes with berries and blue or purple and pink ribbons, with four candles around the circumference. These may be all white, or three purple and one pink (for Rose Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent - which is traditionally dedicated to Mary – but now sometimes observed on Advent 4 when the Marian Gospel story is read in the Revised Common Lectionary). Each Sunday, a new candle is lit, with a prayer, until all are burning. A fourth white Christ-candle may be put in the center and lit on Christmas Eve. The Scripture lessons for the Sunday may be read as candles are lit by the gathered household. If your candles burn too low, it’s fine to replace them, and don’t let the greens dry out and become a fire hazard. You can use votive lights in glass, tapers, or columns in the wreath - if the candles are big enough, you might burn them during a Sunday family meal. There is another set of prayers for a wreath in the Book of Occasional Services available from Church Publishing Inc.

Prayers for use with an Advent wreath: 

Come, O Holy One, 
as the morning light after a wakeful night!
Keep us mindful that at any moment you may ask of us
an accounting of our lives;
help us to love you and love one another in all we do,
and so clothe us with your light
that we may bring others to love you also,
through Jesus our Savior. Amen.

Come, O Holy One, 
as the water of life and refiner's fire!
Strengthen us with courage for your work of justice
that in all the creation and among every people
your peace may be established
and your joy abound,
through Jesus our Deliverer. Amen.

Come, O Holy One, 
breaker of chains and renewer of life!
Open our eyes to your presence in all the earth.
Stir us to proclaim gladly the signs of your love:
the liberation of those oppressed,
the healing of those frail and broken,
springs of water in all the parched places,
and Jesus Christ risen and alive, through whom we pray. Amen.

Come, O Holy One, as the beloved child, Emmanuel!
Soften our hearts and open our arms  for your coming
that we may make this a place worthy and warm,
kindly and safe for all your children,
in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Glory to you, Giver of all good gifts!
We offer you glad thanks and praise
for every blessing from your love,
and especially for the best gift of yourself
in the child Jesus. Amen. 

Jennifer M. Phillips, an Episcopal priest, is Rector of St. Francis Church, Rio Rancho, NM, and a former member of APLM Council. She has published poetry in many poetry journals, and her articles on social justice, AIDS, sexuality, and liturgics have appeared in Christianity and Crisis, The Witness, Episcopal Life, The Living Church, and Anglican Theological Review. She is the author of the book Preaching Creation, and Prayers for Penitents from Cowley Publications, Simple Prayers for Complicated Lives, edited Ambassadors for God: Envisioning Reconciliation Rites for the 21st Century (Liturgical Studies Series,5) from CPI, and is a major contributor to collections of prayers and liturgies now in use in the Episcopal Church: Enriching Our Worship series, and Gleanings: Essays on Expansive Language with Prayers for Various Occasions, (Meyers, Petingell, eds) both from Church Publishing.

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